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Notes from Peter Block’s Flawless Consulting


A consultant is a person in a position to have some influence over an individual, group, or an organization but who has no direct power to make changes or implement programs. A manager is someone who has direct responsibility over the action. To know what the person is talking about

To put ideas into words, to listen, to give support, to disagree reasonably, to maintain a relationship

Each consulting project goes through five phases. The steps in each phase are sequential. Skillful consulting is being competent in the execution of each of these steps.

Phase 1. Entry and Contracting

This has to do with the initial contact with a client about the project.

Phase 2. Discovery and Dialogue

Consultants need to come up with their own sense of the problem. They also need skill in helping the client with the same

Phase 3. Feedback and the Decision to Act

The data collection and analysis must be reported in some fashion.

Phase 4. Engagement and Implementation

This involves carrying out the planning of the previous step.

Phase 5. Extension, Recycle or Termination

It begins with an evaluation of what went on during engagement and implementation. Following this is the decision whether to extend the process to a larger segment of the organization.

Promise of Flawless Consultation 1. Have your expertise better utilized 2. Have your recommendations more frequently implemented 3. Become more in a partnership role with your clients 4. Avoid no-win situations 5. Develop internal commitments in your clients 6. Receive support from clients 7. Increase the leverage you have on clients 8. Establish more thrusting relationships with clients Chapter 1. A Consultant by Any Other Name ‌

Notes from Peter Block’s Flawless Consulting

It is the problem solving, rational, or explicit part of discussion, where you are working on (technical / business problem)

It has to be balanced – 50/50 Keep in mind client feelings. Pay close attention to your own feelings Ask the clients whether they trust you in order to build trust Consultants have a right to their own needs

It eliminates a major cause of confusion, uncertainty, and resulting inefficiency in problem solving. It includes objective and personal data. Organizations seem to work better when people get an opportunity to influence decisions that have a direct impact on their work. People easily commit themselves to things they believe will further their interest.

Chapter 2. Techniques Are Not Enough

Notes from Peter Block’s Flawless Consulting

It promises maximum use of peopleʼs resources. It spreads the responsibility for success or failure and for implementation Try to teach how to solve similar problems in order to people become more competent. Pay attention to way people are interacting around the problem.

Chapter 2. Techniques Are Not Enough

Notes from Peter Block’s Flawless Consulting Ask the client to state what the problem is. Add your opinion The intent is no to say no to clients, but to make go ahead a joint decision

the decision to

It only takes a simple question to involve the client in deciding what kind of data should be collected Creating a consultant-client team to do the job is a good way to build client commitment The client has ideas about how the data should be collected. Ask Have the client do it with you Urge the client to be with you at certain points. Analyzing what the data means is more fun – involve the client in this Have the client share in presenting the data analysis in the feedback meeting Developing workable recommendations requires your technical knowledge and the clientʼs practical and organizational knowledge The client may want to totally take over the process and dismiss the consultant from the decision-making meeting

Chapter 2. Techniques Are Not Enough

Notes from Peter Block’s Flawless Consulting Authentic behavior is the most powerful thing you can do to have the leverage you are looking for and to build client commitment.

Flawless consulting demands knowledge of the task requirements of each phase of the project. These requirements are the business of each phase and must be completed before moving on.

Chapter 3. Flawless Consulting

Notes from Peter Block’s Flawless Consulting Requirements of each phase To exchange what client and consultant want from each other To get this mixed motivation expressed early in the project These concerns (often image and loss of control) have to addressed directly You have to know how many clients you have

The initial problem statement is usually a symptom of other underlying problems. Politics is affecting people behavior and their ability to solve problems It has to be identified and expressed Once we begin to collect data, we have begun to change that organization The purpose of data collection is to solve a problem, to get some action It is information on the context (i.e. politics or peopleʼs attitude) in which our recommendations might be implemented. It is not only about presenting data: the main objective is to work on the decision about what to do. Another requirement is identifying how the client is managing the feedback The resistance is due to the prospect of having to act on difficult organizational issues How we involve people will determinate their commitment at each stage Each meeting has to demonstrate that employee attitude will dictate success Trust is built by dealing with the difficult issues early and publicly Bring people into decision about change as early as possible Stimulate dialogue that s void of blame, history attention to who is not in the room, and too quick to action

To consult flawlessly is to: 1. Behave authentically 2. Complete the requirements of the each phase

Chapter 3. Flawless Consulting

Notes from Peter Block’s Flawless Consulting


A contract is simply an explicit agreement of what the consultant and the client expect from each other and how they are going to work together.

Both sides enter the agreement freely and by their own choosing. It directly addresses the issue of how motivated the staff person and the line manager are to engage in a project together

Consideration is the exchange of something of value between the consultant and the client. From client point of view is a service (an advise, analysis or just reflection). The consultant needs to receive something of value in return.

To contract flawlessly is to: 1. Behave authentically 2. Complete the business of the contracting phase

Chapter 4. Contracting Overview

Notes from Peter Block’s Flawless Consulting

Resistance takes many forms, some of them very subtle and elusive

Maintaining control is at the center of the value system of most organizations. There is a belief in control that goes beyond effectiveness or good organizational performance (control is valued very, very highly).

Concern that the manager will get hurt is the second major issue that gives rise to most of the resistance.

Chapter 8. Understanding Resistance

Flawless Consulting